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Sino-Thai trade relations make fruitful gains

By YANG WANLI in Bangkok | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-06-26 09:49

Investment opportunities expanded under strategic partnership, forum told

Bilateral ties between China and Thailand covering a wide range of cooperation on trade, finance and personnel exchange echoed the Belt and Road Initiative and the two countries will get even closer in the future under the current strategic partnership, the 16th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention in Bangkok heard.

"The economic and financial policies of Thailand will not change in the future. We always welcome investments from all over the world. China, our largest trade partner over the past 11 consecutive years since 2011, is important to us," said Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, who is also the minister of commerce.

At the opening ceremony of the convention, Jurin said trade between China and Thailand has increased over the past years under various mechanisms, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and mini Free Trade Agreements between Thailand and Chinese provinces.

Under the agreements, several actions have been taken such as boosting information exchange, promoting business linkage, establishing trade representatives and expanding investment opportunities.

So far, Hainan and Gansu provinces, and Shenzhen in Guangdong province have signed mini FTAs with Thailand. Southwest China's Yunnan province will be next in August, according to Jurin.

"China is an important market and also the biggest trading partner of Thailand. As we have achieved trade success, Thailand will speed up the infrastructure construction and make more preferential policies that can better connect with Chinese market," Jurin said.

China is the largest trading partner of Thailand with the bilateral trade reaching 3.69 trillion baht ($107 billion) last year, accounting for about 18 percent of Thailand's total foreign trade volume, according to the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

China was also Thailand's top source of investment in 2022, as investors from China channeled $2.3 billion into the kingdom's key industries such as electronics, automotive and data centers, according to the Thai Board of Investment.

In April, the Bank of Thailand had discussions with China's central bank over supporting the use of yuan-baht settlement to mitigate foreign exchange risks amid ongoing US dollar volatility.

Southeast Asia holds large groups of Chinese entrepreneurs who had made numerous commercial miracles and contributed to regional development with their efforts, talents and professional skills, said Gao Yunlong, chairperson of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, during the convention.

Deepening cooperation

He said China and Thailand now have a new opportunity for deepening their cooperation, as green development has been an emerging trend in the region, especially Thailand, which has set a 20-year strategy to transform its economy toward use of technology and innovation through environment-friendly policies.

"Entrepreneurs from both Thailand and China should work closely to build a community with a shared future for China and Thailand and boost regional prosperity for further benefiting people from the two countries," he said.

Chairman of the Thai Chinese Chamber of Commerce Lim Chu Chin said the gathering is expected to help expedite the country's post-pandemic recovery and promote Thailand among Chinese businesses worldwide.

Yuan Hui, the CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Xiao-I Corporation, said Southeast Asia is an important trade partner with China and also a land of opportunities for Chinese AI technology.

"It's important to recognize that AI is an enabler, not a competitor. As a Chinese company, we hope to bring our technology to Southeast Asian countries and enable other industries in those countries with a development goal of being smarter," Yuan said.

"Since Xiao-I was founded, we've been practicing our belief to 'serve the people'. And now it's time to serve the people not only in China, but also the world."

On Sunday, about 4,000 Chinese entrepreneurs gathered in Bangkok to share experiences and exchange commercial ideas during the World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention from June 24-26.

Founded in 1991, the convention is an important biennial event for Chinese entrepreneurs around the world. Organized by the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce this year, it aims at establishing an economic network linking Chinese entrepreneurs worldwide.

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